Advances in technology, application development and device penetration will usher in a new era of mobile engagement, built around user context, within the next four to five years.
According to Thomas Husson, Principal Analyst at Forrester, today’s global installed base of circa 200m devices will nearly quadruple to 760m by 2016. At the same time, features, such as voice and gesture recognition and augmented reality, will allow brands to engage with consumers based around their experience.
“The future of mobile is user context,” explained Husson. “User experience needs to be built around intimacy and immediacy as well as context – where the user is and how they got there and what information would be useful for them. You need to sense their environment and the give them a user experience which, as always, is built around intimacy and immediacy.”
When catching a flight, for example, Husson believes the future of engaging at a deeper level with customers will be to offer information based on where they are in the process. This changes considerably depending on where they are in their journey, from booking a flight to checking in bags, and on their individual circumstances, such as access to a lounge or information on connecting flights.
Should his prediction that mobile will fundamentally change customer engagement over the next four to five years seem too bold, Husson has some cautionary words.
“People think we’ve already seen great change but it’s only the start,” he says. “Just cast you mind back four years ago and there was no iPhone and Facebook was not a publicly available site. Just think, it took Apple two years to sell 67m iPads but 24 years to sell 67m computers.”
Husson also admitted that in an age when SIM cards are going into more and more devices, defining “mobile” is becoming increasingly difficult, and will only become more so in the future.